This is a transcription of notes provided by Ron Stone.
The golf course only had nine holes when I joined in either the late 50’s or the early 60’s. I’ve drawn the course as I remember it. It’s as below
There was a bungalow type club house without any accommodation. There was no professional and no greenkeeper but there was a tractor shed much in the same place as it now is. There were a couple of gang mowers and the green and tees were cut by hand mowers.
Reg Reeves, a local garage owner, used to mow the fairways and cut the greens and generall looked after the course and the bar.
I used to come up from West Meon after work, and would pay the green fee. I’m sure there was an honesty box. One evening I met Reg, who was in the club house doing the cleaning and I spoke to him and paid my green fee. Reg asked me if I wanted to join the club and I said “Yes, but I have no proposer or seconder”. Reg said “That does not matter. Fill in this form, give me your money and you are a member as from today.” So I joined and duly put in three cards and got a handicap of 22. Playing in one of the competitions I came in with a low score and the committee cut me by 6 shots. It took me a long time to play to my new handicap.
One evening in the week I turned up to play and met Reg who was in a state of panic. For a day or two previously he had put sulphate of ammonia on the greens and as we had no water to the greens nor had it rained for some time the greens started to burn up so we all got what containers we could find and filled them up with water, put them in the car boot and travelled round the course throwing water over the greens. With a bit of luck we managed to save them – phew!
For all club matches played at home the ladies would make sandwiches and cakes and post of tea and serve the players whilst Reg manned the bar.
In the winter time when Waterlooville was unplayable we would allow their members to come up and play during the week at a reduced rate. In those days Waterlooville was a 12 hole course.
Eventually it was decided to employ a professional/greenkeeper and after selection, Ron Crockford from Alresford was taken on. Ron was a scratch golfer and played many times for Hampshire. I knew Ron well as I had played football against him. Also his father was a coal merchant, the same as my father.
Ron was married and lived in Petersfield from where he travelled each day in his Morris Traveller, loaded to the roof with golf equipment. On odd days he would bring a hand mower to use on the greens.
The committee had provided a shed for his pro shop, alongside the club house. On at least two occasions the shed was broken into and some clubs and balls were stolen. One morning he arrived to find the shed broken into and you could follow the trail right down to the Bishops Waltham road all through the trees. The committee decided to put up a grill over the window and added a steel door for safety.
In those early days I helped Ron to get the course up to a good standard as the course, tees and greens were not in a very good condition. They needed a lot of work put in – greens hollow tined and top dressed. The tees were in poor condition. I was in a position to help Ron for at least two years. In the summer time the old sixth used to get covered in white daisies and it was very difficult to find your ball. The bunkers had builders sand, which we gradually replaced with proper bunker sand. I think Sid Parrett, who worked for Wheatleys of Wickham, managed to find us a rotary mower to pull behind the tractor. It was ideal for cutting the rough.
On the playing side I always looked forward to the matches. In the evening once a year we would play Alresford, home and away. You can imagine the banter with Ron’s old pals and also mine especially with Bill Young, the Alresford pro/greenkeeper. Both he and Ron taught me my golf which helped me get down to an eight handicap.
I always looked forward to the weekends both Saturday and Sunday. If there was no competition on we would have our four ball match – Ron Crockford (scratch) and myself(8) against Dennis Pink(3) and Ray Rowe(5). We always played for a wrapped red Dunlop 65 (as pictured to the right). That ball used to pass between each team. I can never remember changing those balls.
One Sunday we were playing the old eighth and Ron teed off, as always, driving close to the copse on the right side with a draw. We all teed off and carried on down the fairway but could not find Ron’s ball. After a while we played on and to our surprise Ron’s ball was in the valley in front of the green – a colossal drive.
I would caddy for Ron in all his Pro matches. We were also members of the Hampshire Alliance, the Rogues Golf Society. I invited him to join the Licensed Victuallers Society. We won an awful amount of tournaments. In those days you would receive vouchers to spend with your Pro.
Hampshire decised to play a one off Pro-Am, not like today’s one a month. It would be a 36-hole competition played at Blackmoor Golf Club. Ron and I entered representing Corhampton Golf Club. We won by one shot. The next year Hampshire decided to alter the rules such that you could not play with your own club’s Pro. So again I entered and was drawn with Paddy Roberts of Rowlands Castle. This time the competition was played at Royal Winchester over 36 holes and the winners were Paddy Roberts and Ron Stone by a margin of two shots. Paddy was so elated he gave me all of the sweep money – what a gentleman.
I also entered the Waterlooville Rose Bowl with John banting and we came away winners.
After leaving West Meon and Corhamption Golf Club I moved to Alton and joined Alton Golf Club. I have won seven major titles including two championships. In 2006 I won a national title playing in the competition for nine-hole golf courses from England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland – the National Nines Senior Betterball. With my partner Brian Oakley we played five rounds then a semi final in Devon and won through to the final held in Jersey where we won by three and two. See the photo below
I was captain of Alton Golf Club in 1992.
So looking back my training at Corhampton must have been pretty good. Thank you Corhampton.